Young companies are innovative, give the business world a jolt, and have bags of potential. However, there is a curse attached to startups: they’re usually viewed as unprofessional, purely because they haven’t had the time to cement their reputation as a trustworthy organization. But it doesn’t need to be that way. Below, we take a look at some of the ways you can make your business look more professional. If you incorporate these tips, no-one will know just how young your company is.
1. Nail the Website
It doesn’t matter how good your ideas are or how much energy you have: if you don’t have a website that was designed with forward-thinking practices and is fully equipped for the modern age, then there’s only so far you’ll be able to go. Customers trust companies who have top-end websites; why this should be is anyone’s guess, but it’s likely related to ‘brand perception’. That is, if something looks high quality, then it probably is. Before you get too drawn into getting your ideas off the ground, make sure you’re nailing the website.
2. The Small Details
It’s amazing just how much effort companies put into the “big” details of their organization, only to then ignore the small details that will quickly undermine the company if they’re left untended. There are two main things that new companies are guilty of: their email address, and their phone number. If you’re still using an ‘@gmail.com’ (or equivalent), then you need to change to a legitimate business email address as soon as possible. It’s much better to have ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’!
3. Ditch the Garage
Many of the world’s biggest and best companies began life in someone’s garage. But don’t let this trick you into thinking that there’s where all the magic happens, or that’s OK to stay there when you’ve clearly outgrown your home-based office: all the companies that began in a garage quickly moved on to bigger, better, and more professional premises. As soon as you’re able to afford to, look at office spaces for rent; it’s much more impressive to hold your meetings in your workplace than it is in your home. And there’s a bonus to having an office, too: you’ll be more productive than working at home and will have a place for your growing staff to work.
4. The Tried and Tested
There’s one school of thought that says the era of the business card came to an end with the advent of the internet, but this is remotely true. There’s still a lot to be said for handing out business cards, the number one benefit is that they make your business look professional. It’s not so much the card itself that legitimizes your company (though it does); it’s the appearance that you’re always in ‘networking mode’, and thus taking your business seriously.
5. Give out Freebies
One of the best ways to make a person take your business seriously is to show them that you’re doing well. And how’s the best way to do that? By giving them something for nothing. Of course, giving out freebies won’t just make your company look like it’s so successful that it can give it all away for free; it’s also an excellent marketing ploy. You’ll be giving out free goods that are branded with your name and logo. There’s another way to give things away for free; content. If you’re willing to write blogs, ebooks, and produce infographics and other useful content, then you’ll quickly position yourself as a leader – or at least a valued contributor – in your field.
6. Your Packaging
You don’t want to create a mirage of authenticity; you should strive to be as authentic as possible. If you’re sending items in the post, then don’t just think your job is finished as they’ve hit the ‘order’ button. You should endeavor to make sure your packaging looks worthy of a company that takes itself seriously. Even seemingly small details, such as the emails you send, are an opportunity to reinforce your credibility.
7. You Are Professional
Finally, there’s always the old way to make sure people view your company as professional: and that is, to act professionally. If you take your business seriously, then it’ll be much easier for others to also believe that you’re credible. Doing the simple things, such as dressing well, arriving on time, and so on is professionalism 101!
Your company is young, but you’ll be able to look beyond your years if you take the advice above.